Interesting Economists

September 3rd, 2010 by Catherine McIntyre, Archives Assistant
Signatures from the first meeting of the British Economic Association (later to become the Royal Economic Society)

Signatures from an early meeting of the British Economic Association (later to become the Royal Economic Society) RES/1/3/4. Click for bigger image.


After nearly a year, I have finally finished tidying up the catalogue for the Royal Economic Society (RES) collection and it is now available to view online. The material contained within the archive covers the foundation of the Society in 1890 (as the British Economic Assocation) and the granting of the Royal Charter (to become the RES), the seal of the Society, Council and Executive Committee minute books, financial documents, details of staff and fellows, RES publications (including the Keynes edition), relations with other economic societies, research with which the Society has been involved and prizes it has awarded.

The largest section relates to the publication of the Economic Journal. It includes correspondence and other material on the management of the Journal, editorial policy, publishing contracts and financial issues, as well as the part that took me so long to get through: submissions from contributors. Amongst the Nobel Prize winners (John Hicks, Joseph Stiglitz), LSE alumni (Nicholas Kaldor, Herbert Turner) and world-renowned economists are some maybe lesser-known contributors with often fascinating stories. For example:

Lauchlin Currie (1902-1993), a Canadian economist who studied at the LSE and then Harvard and became Franklin D. Roosevelt’s White House economist in 1939. During WWII Currie was involved in working with the Chinese air force and then ran the Foreign Economic Administration. After the war, an ex-Soviet agent accused Currie of passing on information to people he knew to be abetting espionage activities. The sinister spin put on Currie’s official wartime cooperation with the Soviet allies led to him being called to appear before the Committee on Un-American Activities in 1948, but no charges were brought against him. Currie then spent the rest of his life based in Columbia, becoming the chief economist at the National Planning Department and frequently teaching at several universities. (RES/6/2/50)

Richard Hyse (1920-2009), a German-born American economist. Hyse was half-Jewish and grew up during the Nazis’ rise to power in the 1930s, becoming a blacksmith after being refused entry to college due to his ethnicity. After the war, Hyse and his wife flew to the United States as displaced persons. Whilst working in a Brooklyn shipyard he took night classes in accounting and later moved to Oswego, NY, where he became the State University’s first economics professor and founded the business department. Sadly, Hyse and his wife committed suicide in 2009 after failing health saw them planning to move into sheltered housing. (RES/6/2/107)

Dionysios Karageorgas (fl 1972), a Greek political prisoner who studied at the LSE. Dismissed from his post as associate professor at the Panteios College of Political Science for allegedly favouring a certain political party and canvassing support for them, Karageorgas was sent to prison after a bomb he was handling exploded in his home. He continued to work from prison and submitted to the Economic Journal through his wife and a sympathetic colleague. His piece was published and the correspondence details the boost it gave to his morale. (RES/6/2/113)

Letter from Dionysios Karageorgas RES/6/2/113

Letter from Dionysios Karageorgas RES/6/2/113. Click for bigger image.

The more recent acquisitions of RES materials are being catalogued by Imogene, so look out for news of the RES/2009 and RES/2010 catalogues becoming available.

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